Anything can happen when it comes to the National Championships. The form of the top racers in the US has gotten better as the weeks have progressed, which will make the battles for top ten spots in both the Women’s and Men’s Elite Races ones to watch this weekend. Madison, Wisconsin plays host to the event but if you are elsewhere in the country, make sure to tune in over at cyclingdirt.org who will broadcast the event live. We might be a little too biased over here at Rapha to make truly objective picks but we’re pretty certain that the characters below all going to be fighting for the top spots. Add your thoughts in the comments section below.
The Elite Men
Three of the best racers in the country will be representing Team Rapha-FOCUS on the start line of Sunday’s Elite Men’s race. Zach McDonald will tear the legs off the U23 field on Saturday, then toe the start line again on Sunday to do the same again. He is a young talent that keeps ramping up his game wherever he goes and if his podium finish at the World Cup in Zolder, Belgium is any indication, he has no intention of stopping. That said, both Chris Jones and Jeremy Powers are contenders for the top spots; last weekend in Chicago showed us that not only has Ryan Trebon healed well but also that both Jeremy and Chris will feature at the front end of this weekend’s bicycle race. After a full season’s worth of battles, even Tim Johnson seems primed for a fist fight in Wisconsin, making this pretty much any man’s race.
Wild card: Jonathan Page. We have not seen much of Jonathan this past year but with a string of great finishes in Belgium recently, including this one in Leuven, he could be ready to come back and smack around his compatriots.
The Elite Women
The past few years have been dominated by Katie Compton at the national level. This year was little different, except for the fact she spent more time overseas. A few other women have tried to give her a run for her money this year, the main one being Nicole Duke. Her explosive starts are her calling card and if she or another rider (or two) can hang on when Compton goes on lap two they might have a chance. Who wouldn’t love to see a shootout to the line between Katie and Meredith Miller? Portland-based Sue Butler has been putting together some great rides as recently as last weekend, when she took the win on the second day of the Chicago races. Sue, along with Mo Bruno Roy (who just recently put in an amazing campaign in Belgium), Katlin Antonneau and Coryn Rivera will ensure the pace is kept high from the moment the gun goes in the Elite Women’s race.
Wild card: Has to go to Meredith Miller. If she can learn some start techniques from Nicole, combine that with her ferocious engine and a finishing sprint to match, she could take on the very best lady competitors in the US.
For more predictions on who may take the top step on the podium check out cyclingdirt.org’s predictions video posting.
The real question here is who do you think is going to be our new US Cyclocross National Champion? Tell us in the comments section below.